Resound, revision, recollection:
Sensing through colonial archives

KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (Yogyakarta)

1st May – 10th June 2017, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam

Organized with Wayne Modest, Head of the Research Center for Material Culture / Tropenmuseum

About Heterotropics#2

For its second chapter, Heterotropics joined forces with the Research Center for Material Culture and invited KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) to engage in a 6-week research residency at the Tropenmuseum. The Tropenmusuem was founded in 1926 in the East of Amsterdam as the city's colonial museum. Its purpuse was to show Dutch overseas possessions mainly from the Dutch East Indies. Following the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the museum transitioned into the current configuration of ethnographic museum and is today in the process of rethinking its permanent exhibitions and displays of the colonial past.

During their residency, KUNCI will research the various collecting and representational practices related to the former Dutch East Indies at the Tropenmuseum, considered both as an archival corpus and narrative device. Aiming to unleash alternative epistemologies and shifting confabulations, Heterotropics#2 will reflect on the aftertastes and afterlives of colonialism, archival language and the politics of memory taking the Tropenmuseum as a starting point.

Heterotropics#2 is realised with the kind support of the Research Center for Material Culture, Amsterdamse Fonds voor de Kunst, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

A broadcasting series focusing on specific objects and findings selected from the archives of the Tropenmuseum will punctuate the unfolding of the residency. In the form of conversations and interviews, the series is a work-in-progress intended both as a communication and research tool.

The 6-week research residency will lead to the final Symposium Tropical Dissonance: Decolonizing knowledge through ethnographic archives (6th June). Convening local and international speakers, the symposium will interrogate intersections between decolonial research, artistic practices and alternative knowledge production.

Both the symposium and the series will be broadcasted live as well as later uploaded as podcasts on Radio KUNCI.


The project forms a part of a new long-term project by KUNCI entitled “School of Improper Education” in which the collective will engage with alternative modes of education and knowledge transmission. The radio will be used as a strategical way of disseminating knowledge across geo-political boundaries and also as a reference to the use of this medium during colonial times.


KUNCI is a collective of artists and theorists initiated in Yogyakarta in 1999. Its activities span different fields trespassing and expanding existing disciplinary boundaries. Since its founding, KUNCI has been deeply preoccupied with critical knowledge production and sharing through means of media publication, cross-disciplinary encounter, research-action, artistic intervention and vernacular education within and across community spaces